Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis - Two Men with the Blues (2008)

NUMBERS WEEK (MARCH 14-20, 2011)

Because it is so basic, most any musician can play blues music. That doesn't mean all musicians can play the blues well. But anytime musicians get together and jam, you're likely to hear some blues. Not all the songs here are blues; the band mixes in some standards, western swing numbers and most of the songs blur the lines with jazz. I'm not crazy about Willie Nelson's voice, but he does a decent job on these songs. While Willie Nelson will record any kind of music with anybody, Marsalis is having to leave his comfort zone here. Maralis does a great job, but the real star of this disc isn't the headliners, it's the back-up band. Marsalis' rhythm section along with Willie's harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, are like musical chameleons moving effortlessly among styles. Worthy of special mention is young pianist Dan Nimmer, who plays like he was brought up in a gin joint playing boogie-woogie one night, gospel the next. This CD was recorded live at Lincoln Center in January 2007. I would have loved to been there (I think there's a DVD available). This is one of those CD's that you have to be in the right mood to hear, but if you are in that mood, the music is perfect.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #20 (July 26, 2008)

Tracks: My favorites are Bright Lights Big City, Caldonia, and Rainy Day Blues. It's always fun to hear someone from New Orleans play Basin Street Blues and Marsalis doesn't disappoint. While they have slightly different arrangements, we've already heard Willie sing Stardust and Georgia On My Mind, so I would have hoped for something a little different here.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: none

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